It's got to be frustrating to fans of small-market teams when the big-market Red Sox have a player, Dustin Pedroia, win the MVP from their farm system. And the other Sox MVP candidate, Kevin Youkilis, was also from their system. But even the big-market teams can't win without at least some help from their farm system.
While it can seem that the Mets have spent their way into contention in recent years, the current core of the team is split 50-50 between expensive acquisitions and homegrown talent: Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran and Carlos Delgado from the first group and David Wright, Jose Reyes and Mike Pelfrey from the second group.
Of course, the reason for the even split is the number of expensive acquisitions that have gone down due to injury and age: Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Moises Alou and Luis Castillo. (El Duque wasn't really a big-money signing.)
I want the Mets to be active in the free-agent market, but I don't like rumors of the team offering top young talent for the likes of the soon-to-be-35 Jermaine Dye. Raul Ibanez is a free agent, but he's Type A, so the Mets would have to give up their top draft choice for him. Is Ibanez worth it? Think the Mets would like to have back that number one they gave up for Alou? If you're giving up a number one pick, you need to get back a top free agent such as K-Rod.
Along with getting younger, the Mets need to get scrappier. Look at the last part of the scouting description for 2004 second-round pick Pedroia (65th overall) from mlb.com:
PLAYS WELL ABOVE TOOLS. HEADSY BASEBALL RAT W/ PLUS INSTINCTS. KNOWS HOW TO PLAY THE GAME. GUY YOU WANT ON YOUR TEAM. DOES WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN.
Rather than just look for aging stars, the Mets need to find their own Pedroia. Too bad Shane Victorino isn't a free agent instead of Pat Burrell.
Lisa, as long as you're talking bets, I was going to offer to make one for this Sunday when my Jets square off against your undefeated Titans with your beloved Vince Young. But where is Vince? Looks like the eyes of Texas are upon the bench! At least, as a Yankee fan, you're used to overhyped throwers.